EDIT: Please see IWillBelieveYou.org, which is now live.
TL;DR: A missing stair – who had been called out twice before – allegedly harrassed at least one woman at WFC last weekend. I have several ideas for solutions.
World Fantasy 2016 just passed this last weekend. While I did swing by the bar on Friday night, I did not attend for two reasons.
First, because of my concerns about their delays in putting up the harassment policy, and second because their harassment policy insisted that they could only respond to incidents reported during the convention. (Policy is/was here: https://worldfantasy2016.org/registration/#Conduct , screengrab here: https://imgur.com/a/9HYbd). To quote myself:
Let’s get rid of the “But it’s WFC, it doesn’t recur!” straw man. If we’re going to take that approach, then you arhttps://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2012/06/missing-stair.htmle guaranteeing that any traveling convention is going to be a safe space for creepers and harassers. In which case, I’m not going.
Second, it puts a huge burden on the victim to be able to immediately feel safe enough to report any incidents. If you really need someone to unpack why that’s a problem… well, that’s another blog post itself.
This is a big deal for me – if you’re not aware, reports of a pattern of harassment by “The Chainmail Guy” at Context 27 and my resignation in the face of non-action over those reports ended up leading to that convention imploding… also in Columbus.
While I ended up giving away my membership to Con-Or-Bust, I still paid attention to the other local Columbus conventions. So when there were reports that “The Chainmail Guy” harassed people at MarCon, I paid attention.
A friend of mine, who works security at MarCon, had a great response to that post. Keep this in mind.
Because this guy’s behavior is known. This isn’t some random dude showing up and being a creeper. Even if you only count incidents that I’ve been personally informed of, we’re talking at least several years and multiple incidents with a number of women. At this point, it doesn’t matter “why” he behaves this way; it’s clearly been pointed out, is known to him and everyone around him, and yet it persists.
Because (allegedly) “The Chainmail Guy” made an appearance – and a harassing one – at World Fantasy 2016 in Columbus as well.
1. While I have been told explicitly about one woman who was harassed and did report his actions at the convention, there are rumors that there were other women who were harassed by this individual. While the conrunners of WFC 2016 will apparently not listen to anything they have to say (though one sorely hopes that they will change their mind on that, lest they tarnish the reputation of MarCon as well), I and others will. Tell us your stories. No more missing stairs.
2. I am calling for conventions – large, small, and otherwise – to start figuring out a way to deal with these so-called missing stairs. Especially when they may move between conventions the way this individual – or many others – have. At a bare minimum, it is time to remove clauses that require attendees to report harassment during the convention.
3. Simultaneously, I am also calling on those of us with enough spoons to do so to be witnesses and support to those calling out harassment at our conventions. We cannot just be waiting to have someone else deal with the situation for us.
I will be creating and distributing #IWillBelieveYou buttons for two reasons. (I’ve just acquired IWillBelieveYou.org; I intend to model it after #IllGoWithYou.org in the next day or two.)
a. To show our support for those reporting harassment and missing stairs
b. To show our willingness to physically go with and support people reporting incidents at conventions. The background color is the teal used for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Because here’s the thing, folks. I am sick of this. I am so done with people who keep abusing others and hiding behind either their longstanding presence or crappy harassment policies.
It is time to keep pointing out the missing stairs.
And to let everyone know how many of us are unwilling to let this continue.